February 2017 - bottle tops and hosting the Sussex branch meeting

Picture: Chris Cutting with Sam Jacquet, President of Hailsham Rotary Club


 Yes, it is those bottle tops again!  Chris Cutting writes.....

On 21st February I was the guest of Hailsham Rotarians when they met at Blackstock Farm, Hellingly.  The members of the group had been saving tops from milk bottles since last summer for the benefit of Eastbourne Prostate Cancer Support Group.  All they knew was that the tops were sent away to be recycled.

I was pleased to explain that the tops are made into plastic parts for equipment used in children’s playgrounds, dustbins and benches.  The support group receives money from sending these tops away to be recycled.  The despatch and payment is organised by local couple John and Mary Carden.   The money is then used for projects at Eastbourne District General Hospital to improve the patient experience.

Thank you Hailsham Rotarians for your hospitality and support for our fund raising.   CC


 Sussex Branch AGM

On 9 February we held out first meeting of 2017.  Not only did we have an excellent speaker in consultant urological surgeon Mr James Moore, but we also hosted the branch AGM.  We welcomed 26 people including some new faces from further afield to hear Mr Moore speak. 

Chairman Roger Bacon began by explaining the purpose of PCaSO and that the three branches of the charity have recently been renamed to map the counties of Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset.  All members who get involved at branch and support group level are volunteers.  There are no paid employees.  Roger thanked the volunteers in the Sussex branch including Ron and Jenny who have recently taken on the distribution of the PCaSO newsletter Updates.   There are six support groups in Sussex and all were represented at the AGM: Bexhill, Brighton, Chichester, Eastbourne, Pulborough and Rustington.  Roger runs the Rustington and Brighton groups.  The Brighton group recently re-launched in December 2016 and meets at the new Macmillan Horizon Centre.

David Hurst, honorary secretary, runs the Pulborough group.  He explained that the PCaSO membership across all three branches is around 1,000 members.  He hoped that the number could be maintained or increase as this size membership can be influential for providing patient and carer views.  Membership costs £12 as a one off fee and includes the quarterly Updates newsletter.  At the main AGM on 23 March 2017 it is hoped to alter the governance of the charity so that PCaSO becomes a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.  This will mean a change in charity number.

Vivian Miles is treasurer and part of the Chichester support group.  He presented the accounts for the Sussex branch which includes our 2016 fundraising for the patient furniture in the waiting and consultation areas of the new Radiotherapy Unit at Eastbourne DGH.  We understand the unit will be opening in summer 2017.  See our fundraising and awareness page on our website to find out more about what we have pledged for this project and donated for others.

All Sussex branch committee members were re-elected and agreed to continue for the next financial year.  This includes Debbie and Chris for the Eastbourne group and John for the new Bexhill group which has been running since March 2016.   


Restoring continence after Prostate Cancer surgery 

Mr James Moore specialises in urinary reconstructive surgery.  He began his talk by explaining he may not see a patient until at least six to 12 months after prostate cancer surgery, and reminded the audience about persisting with the pelvic floor exercises.  Tests help confirm if urinary incontinence is not resolving after surgery, for example, urinary flow studies.  It is also essential to ask the patient how many pads he is using each day and what activities make the leakage worse.  He talked about the surgical ‘slings’ that can be performed to pull up and tighten around the bladder.  Mr Moore then showed a short animated film to explain an ‘artificial urinary sphincter’ which can transform and improve the quality of life for men with persistent urinary leakage after surgery.  The surgical procedure is relatively short and the device not externally visible.  Urine can then be released from the bladder when convenient thus eliminating the need for pads.  However, some men may wear a thin pad during the day for safety – just in case.  (See images below from Mr Moore’s presentation.) 

Mr Moore works closely with specialist nurse Penny who has set up a buddy system to allay the concerns of prospective patients.  It is reassuring to meet another man who has already gone through the procedure and can manage the sphincter with ease.   Eastbourne DGH is a centre for a research study called MASTER which is comparing the male sling and artificial urinary sphincter for managing urinary incontinence in men.  This is a randomised controlled trial and will be recruiting until December 2017.  See website for further details https://www.mastertrial.co.uk/

Some lively and frank discussion followed with Mr Moore answering a variety of questions before the meeting concluded.  The audience found it very helpful and appreciated the honest discussion.  DH

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